How much feedback is too much feedback? How much is just enough?
That’s a question both the Course and Faculty Evaluation Committee (CFRC) and our students have been exploring.
At present, students are required to complete a 15-question course evaluation for each course as they complete it. As well, they’re required to complete faculty evaluations for each faculty member who taught at least four hours during that course. For our pre-clerkship students, this translates into 24 courses over the first two years of our program. Some courses are divided into units for evaluation, so that further increases the evaluation load.
As noted in a recent CFRC report to the Curriculum Committee: “Response rates have dropped significantly during the previous academic year on all course and faculty evaluations. It is assumed that a major contributing factor to the fall is the number of evaluations students are being asked to complete.”
We won’t ever do away with student course evaluations as these provide valuable feedback for curricular improvements. The CFRC is interested, however, in reducing the evaluation workload for students while still collecting solid feedback.
After consulting with the Aesculapian Society, the CFRC has proposed that only a subset of students will be asked to complete course and faculty evaluations for each course. Remaining students will have the option to complete evaluations. (In other words, students will always be able to comment on any of their courses and faculty if they want to provide additional feedback).
To determine if this will result in greater compliance (and data adequate for evaluation purposes), the CFRC will pilot this procedure on several Term 2 and 4 courses. The pilot project (Reduced number of targeted respondents for course and faculty evaluations), was approved by the Curriculum Committee at its November meeting.
For the pilot, students in both Meds 2019 and 2020 will be divided into randomized groups of 25 students each. One group of 25 students will be assigned to complete evaluations for each of the courses in the pilot.
Courses included in the pilot will be:
- Meds 121 Fundamentals of Therapeutics
- Meds 125 Blood and Coagulation
- Meds 127 MSK
- Meds 240 Genitourinary and Reproduction
- Meds 241 Gastroenterology and Surgery
- Meds 245 Neurosciences
- Meds 246 Psychiatry
All students will be asked to complete the term 2 and term 4 course and faculty evaluations for those courses not included in the pilot. Also, Course Directors for the targeted pilot courses will be asked to confirm if there are any faculty to be excluded from the reduced pool of respondents and included in a group to be completed by the entire class.
Results of the pilot will be reported to the Curriculum Committee in August 2017.